Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 8/14/05 - 8/21/05

Saturday, August 20, 2005

George in Purgatory

George in Purgatory by Erica Jong

I have a persistent vision of George Bush entering Purgatory (which I imagine as a scene out of Dante) and being confronted by the bloodied souls of the women and children he killed in Iraq.

“Remember us!” they cry.

“I have to get on with my death,” he says.

No guide comes to accompany him.

Not Virgil, who guided Dante, nor any of the presidents who preceded him. The founding fathers may not be in heaven, but they have no use for him. Nor does FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, nor Woodrow Wilson. Not even fuzzyheaded Ronald Reagan wants to guide him. Everyone seems to know he’s anathema.

Finally Jesus, who can forgive anyone, comes to greet him.

“All you have to do is acknowledge your mistakes,” Jesus says. “And I will receive you into the flocks of the forgiven.”

“Remember us!” the dead children cry.

“Shah,” says Jesus, “everyone deserves as chance to repent.”

“I have to ask Turdblossom,” says George.

“No counselors allowed,” Jesus says. “Look into your heart.”

“I have to ask Laura,” George says.

“She’s still on earth,” says Jesus. “She can’t help you now.”

“What did my father do? George asks.

“He repented of his lies, his dirty business deals, his adulteries. . .”

“Then God Damn it! I’m not gonna!” George screams.

And with that, he is flung into the icy circle of the traitors with Judas, Brutus and the others and frozen forever.

“It’s not so bad,” Judas says. “With global warming, we’ll get defrosted someday. And we’ll still look good.”

George is perplexed. “Isn’t that just a left-wing theory?” he asks, “like evolution?”

Friday, August 19, 2005

Truth in Advertising...I LOVE it when it happens!

I've been listening to the ads for "Chicago's Best" hot dog and sandwich place on my favorite Progressive talk radio station, KUDO 1080. They've been claiming to have the only truly Chicago "beefs" (Italian beef sandwiches) as well as real Chicago polish sausage. I ate lunch there today and they were not kidding! I just had the BEST polish sausage that I've had since I left Chicago!

Just as importantly, they knew to serve it with GRILLED onions instead of raw!

They've been serving lunch on C Street between Northern Lights and Benson Blvd. It's worth it!

The Fat Lady is Singing...Republican Senator Chuck Hagel: Iraq growing more like Vietnam

Wow...as someone who remembers Vietnam and the war protests quite well, the parallels are becoming eerily familiar. I remember that just one Congressman standing up on the Congressional floor was the beginning of the end of our Vietnam presence. Per CNN:

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska on Thursday said the United States is "getting more and more bogged down" in Iraq and stood by his comments that the White House is disconnected from reality and losing the war.

The longer U.S. forces remain in Iraq, he said, the more it begins to resemble the Vietnam war.

Hagel mocked Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion in June that the insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes," saying the U.S. death toll has risen amid insurgent attacks.

"Maybe the vice president can explain the increase in casualties we're taking," the Nebraskan told CNN.

"If that's winning, then he's got a different definition of winning than I do."
Yes...you have it right. This is commentary from a Republican Senator from that well-known bastion of liberal extremism, Nebraska!

"The casualties we're taking, the billion dollars a week we're putting in there, the kind of commitment we've got -- we're not going to be able to sustain it," he said.

Iraq and Vietnam still have more differences than similarities, he said, but "there is a parallel emerging."

"The longer we stay in Iraq, the more similarities will start to develop, meaning essentially that we are getting more and more bogged down, taking more and more casualties, more and more heated dissension and debate in the United States," Hagel said.
That right there was enough to make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but no, he had to go and make me fall in love with him:
On another Iraq-related issue, Hagel said Bush made the wrong decision by not meeting again with Cindy Sheehan, a mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq who has camped outside the president's Texas ranch. (Full story)

Sheehan "deserves some consideration, and I think that should have been done right from the beginning," Hagel said, noting that Bush did meet with her shortly after her son's death last year.

"I think the wise course of action, the compassionate course of action, the better course of action would have been to immediately invite her in to the ranch. It should have been done when this whole thing started. Listen to her."

Yes, this is one Republican Senator calling out the Administration...but we all know how significant that is in the "if you're not with me, you're against me" White House. Because it's following on the heels of a nationwide groundswell of support for Cindy Sheehan, it reflects a growing trickle of public protest and support.

It doesn't take long for a trickle to become a flood, ya'll.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More editorials about Alaska's bridges - this one from Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor of "Prarie Home Companion" fame, wrote an amusing (and somewhat inaccurate) op-ed piece for The Chicago Tribune yesterday regarding Uncle Ted's bridge projects.

For Alaska, the Republicans earmarked $223 million for a bridge almost as long as the Golden Gate to link the town of Ketchikan (pop. 8,000)--which is a town that exists to sell T-shirts and postcards to cruise passengers for three months a year--to the local airport on Gravina Island, replacing a seven-minute ferry ride. Alaskans also will receive a billion-dollar 2-mile-long bridge connecting Anchorage to hundreds of square miles of undeveloped wetlands, a great convenience for birdwatchers who now, instead of having to kayak across the water to observe the red-bellied grommet, can drive over in their Explorers and bring a mobile home with them.

Had Minnesota voted Republican, as Alaska wisely did, we might have gotten a canal connecting the Mississippi to Lake Superior and a high-speed rail link between Bemidji and Roseauand maybe a 10,000-foot runway at the Waseca (pop. 8,389) International Airport.
I posted a response on The Prarie Home Companion website's message board, The Chatterbox Cafe:

I enjoyed the article. As an Alaskan, however, I must protest just a little.

First off, not all of us voted Republican...really...I promise. There are a few hardy liberal folks up here who collectively have less clout than even the English major lobby.

Secondly, many of us, conservative and liberal, could not agree more about the ridiculousness of the proposed Ketchikan bridge. It's kind of embarassing and we are trying to scrap the idea.

Thirdly, the second bridge (the Knik bridge) is a very different issue from the one in Ketchikan. As it stands, there is only one road leading out of Anchorage, a place where half (about 300,000) of the entire state population resides. As the population grows and more folks live north towards the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, commuting on that one road can be quite a nightmare, especially in the winter. The bridge to Knik will not only provide an additional, faster way in and out of Anchorage, it will also allow folks to build in the Knik area and still be able to commute to Anchorage within a reasonable amount of time.

Finally, stating in disparaging terms that the Knik bridge will link Anchorage to "wetlands" is rather silly, as 130 million acres of Alaska (1/3 of the state) are considered wetlands, which includes large areas in Anchorage. Many of the most habitable places for humans reside around those "wetlands," and the area that the Knik bridge connects to is the far side of the Mat-Su Valley containing the towns of Wasilla and Palmer.

If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to come up and visit so you can take a look for yourself.

I don't know if Mr. Keillor reads the message board, but it will be interesting to see the responses.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Candlelight Vigil to Show Support of Cindy Sheehan

Anchorage is joining folks across the country. This is from the Alaskans for Peace and Justice website:

Cindy Sheehan Candlelight Vigil
On The Park Strip near I Street
Tonight, 17 Aug
07:30 PM

Bring a candle and yourself to gather to show support for Cindy Sheehan (in Crawford, Texas) and her effort to meet with President Bush to discuss the "noble cause" for which her son Casey died in April 2004.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"Vandalizing" Camp Casey - staying on message

Check out this bastard:
Some 800 white wooden crosses, bearing the names of soldiers killed in Iraq like her son, have lined the road near the area where Sheehan has pitched a tent. Witnesses said they saw a truck dragging a pipe and chains drive over some of the crosses on Monday night.

Larry Northern, 46, of nearby Waco, Texas, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief in connection with the incident, Crawford Police Chief Donnie Tidmore said.
Holy crap - if someone would have done something like that during a Terry Schaivo protest, the Right would have gone nuts! But I guess it's OK to defile monuments to the dead - as long as it's in support of George W. Bush!

Yet Cindy managed to calmly stay on message:
"We're trying to be good neighbors," said Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in combat in Iraq in April 2004. "We're trying to make everybody happy and the only thing I want is to talk to one of their neighbors. If they want us to leave, they should talk to their neighbor, George Bush, and tell him to come to us."
And another Vet supporting the vigil:
Charles Anderson, a 28-year-old Iraq war veteran from Virginia Beach, Virginia, called the vandalism of the crosses a "sacrilege."

"These crosses represent five of my comrades in my battalion who are no longer with us," he said at a news conference with Sheehan.
Yesterday, I read that Cindy Sheehan - very wisely - is trying to point out that the "media circus" is detracting focus from her basic message...to talk to Bush and ask him what we are actually accomplishing there. I find it amazing that so many people seem to be misdirecting attention from and/or are ignoring that simple fact.

Probably because they know that the Administration cannot answer with any credibility.

Those of us Liberals/Progressives need to realize that every poll out there shows us we are now far in the majority when it comes to disagreeing with Bush's handling of Iraq. We need to stop acting as if we are in the minority.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Misusing his memory?

I had to make this response to the Cindy Sheehan article an entirely separate post:

Guadalupe said...

I think you ought to put up some of the stuff from the people who disagree with her.

She is misusing the memory of her son as a tool for the anti-war, bush haters.

The whole situation is sad.

Yes, Guadalupe, I find the situation sad.

It's very sad that almost 2000 mothers are in the same position as Cindy Sheehan - grieving for a son or daughter who came home from Iraq in a box.

It's sad that a President (on vacation for five weeks in one of the deadliest months for American soldiers), when asked why he won't see Cindy Sheehan, says that he needs to "get on with his life."

Too bad Cindy's son Casey doesn't have a life to get on with.

If I could stomach it, I would print the garbage that right-wing chicken-hawks are tossing at Cindy, including CHASTISING HER for the fact that her husband filed for divorce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder how many of her detractors are on their second or third marriages (or have mistresses on the side)?

Should we remind them that their demi-god, Ronald Reagan, was divorced?

No offense, Guadalupe, but saying that she is "misusing" the memory of her son is making a pretty big assumption about her son's personal beliefs. I can't imagine folks having the gall to claim that they know someone they have never met better than his/her mother. I don't know how I'd react if anyone tried to make the same assumption about my daughter, but I'm quite sure I would not be as graceful as Ms. Sheehan.

It's unfathomable that such an accusation should come from a group of people claiming to be devout Christians. I seem to remember a rather important man in the Bible's New Testament declaring, "Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

It's unfathomable that such an accusation should come from a group of people claiming to be devout Christians. I seem to remember a rather important man in the Bible's New Testament declaring, "Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

I remember 29 years ago watching a group of brave women on the news participating in the "Women's March" in Northern Ireland. There were mothers, wives, sisters and other family members of those who had died in the conflict...over 10,000 women, both Catholic and Protestant, joined together to protest the continued violence by holding hands and walking down one of the most dangerous streets in Belfast. The women proved their point by silencing the guns for that day as they turned that street into hallowed ground. I remember shedding tears as I watched. It is burned in my memory as the most powerful protest that I've ever seen.

No, Cindy Sheehan is not misusing her son's memory. Her primary message is that of a grieving mother demanding peace and justice. In this, she is honoring an ancient tradition...a sacred rite...of working to help save other mothers from the same fate.

Support for Cindy Sheehan

Many people are heading down to Texas to support Cindy, including other family members of soldiers serving or killed in Iraq.

TomPaine.com has an article originally printed in The Philadelphia Inquirer written by the mother and brother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, killed while searching for WMDs in 2004.

We sit together in the searing sun, on a tiny strip of roadside, two miles from the comforts of the president's ranch. We've camped in thunderstorms and been attacked by fire ants.

We have now in Crawford an invaluable collection of ordinary Americans who can speak a plain and irrefutable truth about the reality of the Iraq war. If the president, and the rest of America, had the patience for these stories, we might find the capacity to stop this unending tragedy.

We're here with moms like Sherry Glover. She came in from Houston with her daughter, Katie, and her 3-month-old granddaughter, Dakota. Katie enlisted in the Army. Stationed in Korea, she met her husband. He's in Iraq now. Katie is on Individual Ready Reserve, and it is within the realm of possibility that she, too, could be activated when her maternity leave is over.

Soldiers visit the Glover house regularly. When they come, Katie peeks fearfully out of the window to study their clothes. She knows a class A Army uniform could be the messenger there to say, "We regret to inform you... " She sighs with relief when she realizes that they are merely recruiters who have come, yet again, to talk to Sherry's 19-year-old twin sons.
Something about recruits constantly bothering that family just feels so wrong.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ghosts in the apartment

Our new apartment has a niced fenced in grassy park area, with 2 ponds. So despite my reservations about outdoor cats, my husband has been letting the two indoor cats play in the park area.On Friday night, only one cat came in. We searched the area, and couldn't find the other cat. My husband slept out in the living room that night with the back door opened in case the cat was lost, so she'd know where to come in. No cat arrived.

Yesterday I made flyers, and we put flyers on all the ground floor apartments facing the park. We started hitting petharbor and other sites trying to find pictures of our cat. There's a cat that looks remarkably like Beaker in the Longmont CO shelter. That's 50 miles away. This morning my husband woke up early, and drove out to Longmont to see if that was our cat. It was not.

So we just got a phone call..this woman 3 apartments down thought she had ghosts. Things in the house kept moving, and her canola oil bottle kept toppling when she wasn't in the room. Apparently the cat had climbed into her apartment, and was found sleeping in a basket she stores over her fridge. She called the number on our flyer, yay happy endings